Summary:

This morning we listened in on “The Green Grid” webcast, where members Jon Haas, energy efficiency programs manager at Intel (INTC), and Dell (DELL) technology strategist John Pflueger led a presentation detailing the group’s plans to develop and promote energy efficiency standards for data centers over […]

This morning we listened in on “The Green Grid” webcast, where members Jon Haas, energy efficiency programs manager at Intel (INTC), and Dell (DELL) technology strategist John Pflueger led a presentation detailing the group’s plans to develop and promote energy efficiency standards for data centers over the course of 2007.

Data center efficiency is a hot topic these days, and for good reason. Last week the EPA released a report that said $4 billion in annual electricity costs could be saved through more energy efficiency in U.S. data centers. The report also noted that data centers consumed about 1.5 percent of total U.S. electricity consumption in 2006.

Less than a year old, The Green Grid is a nonprofit consortium of more than 40 technology companies that aim to develop energy efficiency standards for data centers and whose membership roster reads like a Who’s Who in Silicon Valley, with AMD (AMD), IBM (IBM), Sun Microsystems (SUNW), H-P (HPQ), among others.

Technology research-firm Gartner recently panned The Green Grid initiative, saying that self-interest might make it impossible for the group to produce agreed-upon standards. The report: “The Green Grid: A Paler Shade of Green,” also noted that there was no specific timeline for group to deliver on its mission.

The group unveiled a timeline during today’s web conference, which focuses on data collection, assessment and technology proposals. For the full list of Green Grid initiatives and reports planned for 2007, check out their release here.

An upcoming report by The Green Grid, “Data Center Standards and Metrics Inventory,” which will be released this quarter, will document existing standards and metrics for energy efficiency in data centers, and will use this data to make recommendations for future improvements. Another planned report from the group, “Data Center Efficiency Baseline Market Study,” also due to be released this quarter, will assess the challenges data center managers face when trying to make their hardware more energy efficient.

“A lot of time when you talk to data center managers today, asking them which equipment needs to be mothballed, they’re just unplugging equipment and seeing if anybody raises a fuss,” said Haas. Pflueger added, “being able to turn off the stuff you’re not using is a big win.”

In related news, PG&E (PCG) said it will use The Green Grid’s efficiency standards for its financial incentive programs for customers who purchase efficient computing equipment.

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